Guest education linked to linen sustainability

This is part two of three of Hotel Management's series on laundry sustainability. Click here for part one: Protect your guestroom linens from chemicals and heat.

Laundry volume has been most heavily impacted in recent years by the introduction of new linen packages that include more duvet covers and triple sheeting.

According to Joel Jorgensen, VP of sales & customer services for Continental Girbau, laundry volumes have increased 30 to 40 percent in some instances due to these modifications, without many changes industry-wide to the washers and driers being used in the back of the house.

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One of the easiest ways to combat these increases is through guest education for what does and does not need to be washed. Marketing to travelers that hotels wash before every new guest, but it isn’t necessary to wash sheets each night if guests don’t require it, can translate into savings on both utilities and the environment.

Bill Brooks, national sales manager for UniMac, has seen savings as high as 17 percent on utilities through the use of guest education, thanks to studies performed before and after the integration of these practices at hotels. “These hotels still had laundry services sized for old bedding, and they were treating the new products,” Brooks said. “It’s impossible to not see guest education having an impact.”

Rick Kelly, VP of marketing & sales administration for Pellerin Milnor, believes that education has been effective but still has room for improvement in relation to guests’ use of towels. “We aren’t there yet with towels, and now there are more towels per room and towels themselves have a longer dry time,” Kelly said. “Some properties are offering rewards for opting out of housekeeping during their stay, and that may be a step in the right direction for the environment.”

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